Welcome to Epernay, the enchanting heart of the Champagne region in France. Nestled amidst picturesque vineyards and rolling hills, Epernay is a champagne lover’s paradise. The town exudes an air of elegance and charm, boasting a rich history and a centuries-old tradition of champagne-making. For connoisseurs, visiting the renowned sparkling wine houses in Epernay is an unparalleled experience that offers a glimpse into the artistry and craftsmanship behind the world’s most celebrated sparkling wine. In this blog post, we will embark on a journey through the top 8 Epernay champagne house tours for connoisseurs in 2023, each offering a unique blend of history, heritage, and exquisite tastings.
House 1: Moët & Chandon
No discussion of champagne houses would be complete without the mention of Moët & Chandon, one of the most prestigious and iconic names in the world of sparkling wine. With a legacy dating back to 1743, Moët & Chandon has been a favorite among royals, celebrities, and champagne enthusiasts alike. The tour takes visitors on a historical voyage, offering a glimpse into the illustrious past of this legendary champagne house. Explore the vast cellars where millions of bottles age gracefully and learn about the meticulous blending process that gives birth to their iconic wine blends. The experience culminates in a tantalizing tasting session, allowing connoisseurs to savor the delicate bubbles of Moët & Chandon’s finest creations. This is the right place where you start to experience Epernay’s Prestigious Champagne Tour.
House 2: Perrier-Jouët
For those with a passion for both art and champagne, a visit to Perrier-Jouët is an absolute must. This sparkling wine house has a longstanding connection with the arts, and its bottles are adorned with beautiful floral designs that symbolize the delicate essence of their champagnes. Visitors are treated to an exclusive cellar tour, where they can witness the aging process that imparts unique flavors to Perrier-Jouët’s wines. The tour culminates in an exquisite tasting of rare vintages, each offering a distinct and unforgettable sensory experience.
House 3: Mercier
Mercier, founded in 1858, is an emblem of innovation in the world of champagne. Their tour takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the vast underground cellars, which can be explored on a miniature train ride, making it an exciting experience for both adults and children. Visitors get to witness the world’s largest oak barrel and learn about the brand’s commitment to sustainable practices. The tasting sessions are a delight, as Mercier’s sparkling wines are thoughtfully paired with local delicacies, showcasing the region’s culinary excellence.
House 4: Dom Pérignon
Dom Pérignon is synonymous with luxury and prestige. Named after the famed Benedictine monk who made significant contributions to the development of champagne, this house offers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at its production process. Visitors can witness the artistry of blending and aging that goes into creating each bottle of Dom Pérignon. The luxurious tasting experiences allow connoisseurs to indulge in the refined flavors and aromas of their prestigious cuvées, making it a truly unforgettable experience.
House 5: Veuve Clicquot
At Veuve Clicquot, visitors are captivated by the inspiring story of Madame Clicquot, a pioneering woman in the world of champagne. The tour includes a stroll through the picturesque vineyards, where guests can learn about the brand’s commitment to sustainable viticulture. A sparkling wine and food pairing masterclass awaits, where the subtle nuances of each drink are complemented by delectable dishes, enhancing the tasting experience.
House 6: Pol Roger
Pol Roger’s tour delves into its historical connections, notably with Winston Churchill, who was an avid fan of their champagne. The labyrinthine cellars harbor a rich history, and visitors can explore the time-honored traditions that have made Pol Roger a symbol of refinement. The tour culminates in sampling prestigious cuvées, allowing connoisseurs to savor the sparkling wine loved by one of history’s most esteemed leaders.
House 7: De Castellane
With its iconic Champagne tower and breathtaking views, De Castellane offers a tour that combines history and aesthetics. Visitors can enjoy a guided tour through the heritage museum, where they learn about the brand’s fascinating past. The experience concludes with a sparkling wine afternoon tea, offering a perfect blend of elegance and indulgence.
House 8: Laurent-Perrier
Laurent-Perrier stands out for its environmentally friendly production methods, showcasing their commitment to sustainability and innovation. The tour takes visitors through impressive underground crayères, where the champagne is aged to perfection. Tasting sessions, led by skilled sommeliers, provide insights into the art of wine appreciation, allowing connoisseurs to relish the diverse flavors of Laurent-Perrier’s range.
Tips for Planning Your Tour
For an optimal champagne tour experience, it’s essential to plan ahead. The best time to visit Epernay is during the spring or summer, when the vineyards are in full bloom, and the weather is pleasant. Making reservations in advance is recommended, especially for popular sparkling wine houses, as they tend to fill up quickly. Booking guided tours ensures a deeper understanding of the champagne-making process and the rich history of each house. Here’s a suggested itinerary for a memorable champagne tour:
Day 1: Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouët
Day 2: Mercier and Dom Pérignon
Day 3: Veuve Clicquot and Pol Roger
Day 4: De Castellane and Laurent-Perrier
Champagne Tourism Etiquette
While on a champagne tour, it’s essential to observe proper conduct and respect the traditions of the sparkling wine houses. Tipping is not common practice in France, but a small gesture of appreciation for excellent service is always welcome. Gifting guidelines suggest refraining from bringing your own wine to a tasting, as it may not align with the house’s style and could be considered disrespectful. Responsible wine consumption is crucial, and visitors are encouraged to indulge in moderation, especially if driving afterward. Many champagne houses also offer non-alcoholic options for designated drivers.
Epernay’s champagne house tours offer an enchanting blend of history, artistry, and indulgence that leaves visitors with a lasting impression. Each sparkling wine house showcases its unique character and charm, making the journey an experience of a lifetime for connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike. As 2023 unfolds, Epernay will host exciting events and festivals celebrating the art of champagne-making, providing even more reasons for wine lovers to visit and immerse themselves in the magic of this enchanting region.